Tamil Nadu government allows domestic air travel; e-pass compulsory

WION Web Team
Chennai, Tamil NaduUpdated: May 24, 2020, 11:29 PM IST


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The Tamil Nadu Government has also decided to keep the flights coming in from Maharashtra and Gujarat at bare minimum, however there is no issue for operating any number of flights out of Tamil Nadu. 

The Tamil Nadu government has decided to allow incoming domestic flights from Monday, 25th March, in line with the Aviation Ministry’s decision to re-start limited flights across India. The arrival and departure of flights will be based on a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)laid down by the state government. However, Tamil Nadu was among the states with rising Covid-19 cases that had requested the Aviation Ministry to resume flight operations after 31st May. 

Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has said that there would be a maximum of 25 flights arriving in Chennai, while there won’t be a cap on departure. Tamil Nadu government’s SOP for domestic air travel mentions that “all incoming travelers coming into Tamil nadu shall register themselves in the TNePass portal and (if asymptomatic) shall undergo 14 day home quarantine. 

While there would be only 25 incoming flights to Chennai, there will not be a cap on the flights coming to Trichy, Madurai or Coimbatore. 

The Tamil Nadu Government has also decided to keep the flights coming in from Maharashtra and Gujarat at bare minimum, however there is no issue for operating any number of flights out of Tamil Nadu. 

Passengers seeking the TNePass would be required to declare that they are not residing in a containment zone, don't have symptoms, are not under quarantine and also must agree to report to the authorities if they develop symptoms. The persons traveling into the state should not have tested COVID-19 positive in the last two months. The declaration also includes the condition that if a passenger embarks on the journey based on false information, he/she is liable for punishment. 

All the passengers flying into Tamil Nadu will be stamped with quarantine seal with date and indelible ink before they are are allowed to move out of the airport. 

On arrival, passengers would be required tp shaw the E-Pass at the airport exit. While passengers without E-Pass would not be permitted to exit the airport, for the first few days, arrangements would be made at the airport for E-Pass registration as a transitional arrangement.

For those taking a flight out of Tamil Nadu, all passengers would undergo medical screening as stipulated by the Airport Authority and persons with symptoms will be set to health facility for testing and quarantine. Only asymptomatic persons will be allowed to board the flight. 

The nationwide-lockdown, which was imposed in March, had meant the suspension of regular flights to and from Chennai. However, repatriation flights for foreign citizens have been operating with government approvals. 

“Since lockdown was implemented on 25th March, 63 non-scheduled relief flights carrying nearly 10000 passengers have operated at Chennai International Airport till 24th May. Out of these, 51 flights took off from Chennai carrying over 7500 foreign passengers and 12 flights brought over 1800 Indians stranded in foreign countries. We had deployed adequate teams with necessary precautions in place to provide smooth clearance fro all of them” Rajan Choudhary, Commissioner Customs, Chennai International Airport told WION.

During the first phase (8th -13th May) of Vande Bharat Mission aimed at bringing back Indians stranded in various countries. 11 flights arrived in Tamil Nadu and 9 flights landed in Chennai. Of the nine, two flights arrived from Dubai and one each from Kuwait, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Muscat (Oman), Chicago (USA), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Manila (Philippines) and London (UK). In total, 1,691 passengers landed at the Chennai Airport.

Currently, Tamil Nadu has breached the 16,000 mark in Covid-19 cases, with over 5,000 cases over the last one week alone. The state has recorded a total of 16,277 cases, of which 7,839 are active cases. Chennai alone has recorded over 10,000 total cases and has 5,653 active cases. The death toll in the state stands at 111. So far, Tamil Nadu has tested over 3.91 lakh people and 4.09 lakh samples.